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Purdue Agriculture in Focus

Purdue Agriculture in Focus


Purdue Agriculture grads in demand as few still seek jobs


With the highest placement in at least the past five years, 93 percent of the spring graduates of Purdue University's College of Agriculture have found jobs or are advancing their education.

"The percentage still seeking employment is the lowest it's been in recent years," said Dale Whittaker, director of academic programs and associate dean of agriculture. "We think that's because of the strong demand for our graduates among employers and growth in the number of persons seeking advanced degrees."

Of Purdue Agriculture's 314 spring graduates, only 7 percent are still seeking employment, and 69 percent are in jobs as of this month, Whittaker said. Another 24 percent are continuing their education, most in graduate schools.

"The number seeking additional degrees is a strong indicator of how well prepared our graduates are to continue their education," Whittaker said. "Graduate and professional programs are rigorous and seek highly-qualified students."

Employers also are increasingly looking to hire individuals with advanced education.

"This is a complex world, and the careers of tomorrow will be more demanding in terms of skills and educational needs. Our students realize more and more that they need to seek further education to be competitive in the job market," Whittaker said.

Starting salaries for May agriculture graduates averaged $37,300. That figure is more than $1,000 lower than the 2007 average and may be indicative of the current economy. The highest average starting salaries went to graduates in agricultural and biological engineering ($48,109) and in food science ($47,000).

In October, 125 employers participated in the Purdue Agriculture career fair. Whittaker said those represented had a high interest in hiring Purdue graduates. "The recruiters are very positive regarding our students' professionalism and preparation," he said.